The Ginninderry estate development has some of the best active travel infrastructure in Canberra. They did not invent it but rather were the first to implement our ACT Standards!
The Macnamara Stage 3 development application (Nr. 202138585) for the Ginninderry estate was released this week and provides insight into the active travel network planned for this development. Strathnairn, the first suburb in Ginninderry estate, is complete.
Ginninderry estate is way out on the edge of west ACT, between Macgregor and the NSW border. The closest shopping centre is currently Kippax with a tiny bus ferrying passengers from and to Ginninderry estate. The ride distance to John Gorton Drive Bridge is 12 km, Belconnen 8 km, and Civic 17 km – with too few cycle paths. The routes are shown on komoot.
Macnamara will be built hard against the Murrumbidgee River Reserve. It is evident from the gradient map below that the valley drops off at the edge of the suburb. The purple area is very steep. The river is about 100 m below Macnamara (540 to 440 m).
Details of the off-road paths in the Macnamara development application are shown under “movement systems”. Pro Hart Avenue features one way, bike-only paths and a separate pedestrian path. This is the best practice: pedestrians, cyclist and motorists need their own dedicated infrastructure. Unfortunately, this has not been replicated in other estate developments.
Paths are on both sides of all other roads that vary between 1.5 m (blue), 2.0 m (purple) or 2.5 m (pink). The paths along the side roads are generally wider than that found in Whitlam or Molonglo Valley, where 1.5 m concrete is pretty much the standard. Macnamara is flatter and the gradients are generally around 5% maximum.
Recreational path network
The highlight of the Ginninderry estate is the recreational path network in Woodstock Reserve, part of Murrumbidgee River Reserve.
The legend colours are standard for all development applications. They are easily confused. The most important are:
- main community route – blue
- local community route – faded blue
- recreational trail – dark pink
The recreational paths (pink) are to the west of Strathnairn in the Woodstock Reserve. A park will be built on the Murrumbidgee River with a road to it. Shepherds Lookout is but a short walk from Stockdill Drive.
The future community and employment area, school, shops and oval lie north of Strathnairn. Eventually, Ginninderry Drive, an arterial road, will lie west of Macgregor and Charnwood, possibly connecting with Kuringa Drive. The purple loop is an access community route – whatever that means.
A maze of recreational trails are found to the west of the community and employment area, north of Macnamara.
Active travel infrastructure in the older suburbs of Holt and Higgins are in strong contrast to Ginninderry. Most of the suburbs in West Belconnen were built without any cycling infrastructure. The roads and verges are wide, but there are only narrow, bumpy concrete footpaths and no bike paths. Cycle lanes are rare, and the implementation is half-hearted. Drake Brockman Drive is also lacking a main community route. The main community route along Southern Cross Drive currently ends short of Macgregor.
With the duplication of William Hovell Drive, Ginninderry may be easier to get to, but its remote location would still make commuting difficult.